By Alfa · Oct 17, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    The prohibitionists are waking up in Alaska. Thursday's Anchorage Daily
    News carried a story about an initiative to essentially legalize marijuana
    in the state, and how federal anti-drug officials are joining with Alaska's
    governor and law enforcement to fight the plan - see

    Predictably, the pro-police-state crowd bring out all the tired arguments.
    One argument seems new, but it's as weird and unconvincing as the
    others. Here's an excerpt from the Daily News story:

    The governor also said the military plays a great role in Alaska and
    legalized pot could harm that relationship.

    "These are serious considerations for the state of Alaska," he said.

    Expanding on that theme, a Murkowski spokesman, Mike Chambers, later said
    the governor was drawing on his experience serving as a U.S. senator during
    base closure proceedings.

    Chambers said legalization could be an "aggravating factor" in such
    proceedings. "This could be something that influences someone's decision,"
    he said. "It's going to have a negative effect on our relationship with
    the military."

    Chambers said Alaska is also a major training center for the
    military. "The fear is that something like this would have a chilling
    effect on the training dollars and where they spend them."

    Close military bases because of local marijuana policy, without considering
    broader security issues? If true, it seems like more evidence that the war
    on marijuana does a lot more to undermine national security than marijuana
    itself ever could.

    What's really interesting, however, is the reaction in Alaska compared with
    the reaction to a marijuana decriminalization plan in Chicago. Granted,
    the Alaska plan is more far-reaching and radical. But, the arguments being
    used against marijuana legalization plans in Alaska could be used against
    marijuana decrim plans in Chicago. Indeed such arguments have been used in
    Chicago (see, though by
    individuals with considerably less power than those speaking out in Alaska
    (and without the military angle).

    The prohibitionist arguments would be just as ineffective and irrational
    for either plan. But because drug warrior
    's arguments hinge completely on
    the perceived badness of marijuana and the alleged need to use the coercive
    forces of government to curb that badness, the arguments could be applied
    equally to either plan.

    Why do the arguments matter in Alaska, but not in Chicago? Or, will they
    matter? I suspect Alaskan voters aren't going to be much more impressed by
    the scary rhetoric than supporters of decriminalization in Chicago's police

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